A master of Victorian-era mystery, Wilkie Collins’ spine-chilling story The Haunted Hotel involves a possible murder in a decaying Venetian palace.
Years after Lord Montbarry dies under suspicious circumstances, his home is turned into a hotel. His family stays there on a visit and all experience vivid dreams featuring a disembodied head. Their visit also coincides with the return of Montbarry’s wife, who writes a play that reveals the true fate of her deceased husband.
Walter Covell adopts an erudite British accent that suits Wilkie’s 19th-century diction and subtly imbues tension and growing panic in the voices of the characters he plays.
©1982 Jimcin Recordings
Though I am a fan of both the genre and era, I find this, Collins' last major work, to really show its age. The plot chugs along its torpid course, with much remonstrations of benighted heartfelt-love, for women with all the personality of a wilted salad. Imagine a novel with all the dull parts of Stoker's Dracula, but without the characters and action to balance it. The detective element of the novel is hardly a twist in the tale and the supernatural elements are pure Victorian mummery. The narration and quality are acceptable. I could only recommend it to a Collins completist.
This book should not be put under horror. The only thing scary about this book was how long it took to get to the actual story. I however did enjoy the style of writing (thus the reason I gave it two stars) but the story was more of betrayal and intrigue than of horror. All of you true horror lovers STAY AWAY!
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